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To feel confused about our responsibilities as tenants?

(60 Posts)
CallMeExhausted Thu 04-Jun-15 02:46:29

DH and I rent a lovely house and pay rent that (to us) is very reasonable. We have been here for over 4 years and intend to make this our home long term. Our LL has said that this is our home for as long as we would like.

Because of this, we treat the home as our own. Basic maintenance (plumbing, appliances, finishes etc) is managed by us , and we don't ask for reimbursement - although major repairs are supposed to be the responsibility of the LL. haven't dealt with any yet aside from a new roof, which was already planned when we moved in

A friend recently commented about how often she is calling upon her LL for issues, requesting things as simple as filters for the furnace or a plumber for a slow running drain - things that (for my family) are our responsibility.

Are we out of our minds to be managing these things ourselves when we are paying rent?

prorsum Thu 04-Jun-15 02:49:41

Do you keep a record of what you've done and the cost?

ReallyTired Thu 04-Jun-15 02:53:33

In most contracts a landlord would pay for essential maintaince. With a plumber I would expect the tenant to pay if they had done something stupid to block a drain, but if it's wear and tear then the landlord should pay. With servicing appliances I would expect the owner of the appliance to pay. The landlord should pay for servicing a boiler and a landlord safety certificate each year.

MidniteScribbler Thu 04-Jun-15 02:55:57

I think 'it depends'. Filters and various consumable items for equipment I wouldn't expect the landlord to pay for. It's a bit like asking for washing detergent supplied if have a dishwasher. You need to replace these just as you would with any other equipment you own. Slow running drain - well toss some draino down it and have a poke with a plunger before ringing a landlord, although if it were a major repair I would expect the landlord to cover it (assuming it's not because you clogged it up with something).

I've seen some cases where tenants really try it on, even down to expecting lightbulbs to be changed. If it is something you can manage yourself, then you should do so. If it requires a tradesperson and it isn't caused by negligence of the tenant, then I expect the landlord to cover it.

emwithme Thu 04-Jun-15 04:11:49

Your basic duty (apart from paying the rent etc) is to act in a "tenant-like manner". Lord Denning (who became Master of the Rolls - so basically the Top Solicitor) said (in the 1953 case of Warren v Keen ):

"What does 'to use the premises in a tenant-like manner' mean? The tenant must take proper care of the place. He must, if he is going away for the winter, turn off the water and empty the boiler. He must clean the chimneys, when necessary and also the windows. He must mend the electric light when it fuses. He must unstop the sink when it is blocked by his waste. In short, he must do those little jobs about the place, which a reasonable tenant would do. In addition, he must, of course, not damage the house wilfully or negligently; and he must see that his family and guests do not damage it; and if they do, he must repair it. But apart from such things, if the house falls out of repair owing to fair wear and tear, lapse of time or for any reason not caused by him, then he will not be liable to repair it."

lastnightiwenttomanderley Thu 04-Jun-15 05:16:55

Turning off the water AMD emptying the boiler over Winter? That would get you in.a whole load of crap round these parts, owner or tenant!

holeinmyheart Thu 04-Jun-15 06:06:10

What you do in the house does depend on your contract.
You say you pay a fair rent. If you keep appealing to your landlord for every little thing to do with maintaining a property, then they will have to come and attend to it. This incurs costs, so the future rent might be reconsidered.

So, if you want the rent to remain at a reasonable level then I would behave in a reasonable manner.
Your friend should be ignored.
You sound like a decent person and it appears as though you have a decent landlord. Personally I would want to maintain the status quo.

LadyintheRadiator Thu 04-Jun-15 06:14:50

Sounds fine to me - ideal, even. We lived in a similar rental for five years, took on all maintenance in exchange for a v reasonable rent and no hassle eg inspections. We have since moved (landlord eventually sold) and pay a lot more in rent, and I know which situation I preferred.

MrsNextDoor Thu 04-Jun-15 06:39:08

I think it is rather naive of you I'm afraid OP. We had a similar LL....not that we paid for plumbers and things...he paid for repairs as a LL should....but he always said "It's yours long term...as long as you want it."

And then he sold it.

He couldn't help that of course...it was his to sell....but unforseen circumstances do happen. I think you should turn to the LL for tradesmen and things. We always take responsibility for small repairs.....such as a blocked drain...things we know we can fix. That's reasonable.

LilyKiwi Thu 04-Jun-15 08:53:58

We had a nice rented house, nice landlord and behaved in exactly the same way as you, which meant that we got to rent it for a really, really long time!

viva100 Thu 04-Jun-15 09:55:07

LL always paid for everything that broke in all the flats I've ever lived in. If I would have stupidly blocked a drain I would have paid for it myself though. And I never spent more than 2 years in one place and always paid quite high market rent.

TheDrugsWorkABitTooWellThanks Thu 04-Jun-15 09:57:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

expatinscotland Thu 04-Jun-15 10:04:28

Depends on why the drain is running slowly. We rented a house where the drains started to run slowly. It was a Victorian house. Clematis on the garage had taken root under the ground over the years and strangled the old pipes, which then broke in places. It was thousands of pounds worth of work. A camera had to be sent down to locate the breaks, the driveway dug up to replace all of them as new pipes didn't fit with the older ones so they all had to be upgraded, the roots killed off, etc etc.

LazyLouLou Thu 04-Jun-15 10:14:48

Hell, we replaced worksurfaces and doors in the kitchen. The LL was never going to do it and we knew we would live there for years, the house was in an estate trust and could not be sold. We did, 10 years later we chose to move.

We called them in for collapsed drains, re-pointing, outside painting and repairs. Oh and a weird electric problem that turned out to be mice in the walls - very quickly got sorted and we called the local pest bod as and when we needed him ever after, on their bill.

I think we too went by the diy if you can, ask them if it needs an expert.

SaucyJack Thu 04-Jun-15 10:18:08

Ours is council, but as tenants we do things that are easier for us to do than dealing with the maintenance department in a nutshell.

Dowser Thu 04-Jun-15 10:25:01

As I've mentioned before I'm a landlord for two properties. I expect the tenant to take good care of the properties . I don't mind if they wish to redecorate to their liking provided it is done to a good standard. I don't do any inspections but will occasionally ring to see if everything is ok. If there is a major problem I call in a trades person to sort it out and I foot the bill.

They pay a reasonable rent for a lot of property.

However, one of the tenants I'm beginning to think see the home they are renting as their own home. I give them access to my plumber as if I'm away and not contactable I never want them to be without heating or hot water.

I called my plumber round to sort out a problem in my own home and he tells me that they are planning on doing something to the bathroom and asked him if he would do the work. I'm going to have to step in here I think.

I think they are planning on putting in a new shower and my plumber is a very respected tradesman so it will be done to a high standard.

Or, do I just let them get on with it.

I have reminded them in the past, when they replaced a carpet that it is a rental property but the wife seems to ignore that fact. My plumber tells me they have replaced the interior door! While it is lovely to think the property is being upgraded and it was in a very good condition when they moved in I do worry that they overstep the mark and at some point they will have to move on when the property is sold.

I don't know how any landlord can say the property is yours for as long as you like it. Circumstances change, people die...

Dowser Thu 04-Jun-15 10:25:54

*thats doors!

Aermingers Thu 04-Jun-15 10:37:25

Nope. You are providing stuff which provides your LL with a financial benefit by maintaining or increasing the value of his house.

You should be careful, him saying you can stay as long as you want is not a guarantee or any legal protection. You could we'll find yourself in a situation of being turfed out of a house you've spent a lot of money on with no way to do anything about it.

LazyLouLou Thu 04-Jun-15 11:12:39

Do step in Dowser. We asked permission and our LLs agent wrote to us outlining the work and the costs and stating clearly that we were doing this at our own cost, with their permission but not at their behest.

As the owner your are entitled to, and should insist upon, consultation and the right to veto any changes to the fixtures and fittings.

Ask a solicitor as I also think they may be able to charge you when they leave, for having improved your property! Which is why our LLs agent rang and explained why he was sending us a letter that would sound a bit terse as it was written in legalese to protect their interests.

CallMeExhausted Thu 04-Jun-15 12:01:24

I am inclined to think that the LL is true to her word - this is one of two properties she owns, and her other tenant has lived in the other property for 17 years.

We haven't made any significant alterations to the house without consulting her (and the most significant was replacing a tile inlay in the entry that had been irreparably shattered since before we moved in - she was thrilled with the work that was done).

For the purpose of her insurance, she inspects the property annually - and we invite her to pop in whenever she likes. She hasn't taken us up on it, though.

I think it works well for us all.

TheDrugsWorkABitTooWellThanks Thu 04-Jun-15 12:09:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LaLyra Thu 04-Jun-15 12:47:22

Do step in Dowser. I'd be writing to them so that you, and they, have it recorded that you don't mind redecoration, but that major changes are not acceptable without your written permission. I'd also be mentioning that you expect the original internal doors to be re-hung when they depart. It's all very well that your plumber is good, but what if they use a different one? Or do other work using a not so good tradesman?

There are tenants that do take the piss. I got stung once with allowing redecoration as long as it was to a professional standard without a 'return to neutral colours' clause. The decor was professionally done, just red and purple wasn't to everyone's taste so I had to redo it to get new tenants!

Slow running drains I'd expect my tenants to use an unblocker and then call me if that didn't work. Appliances are included at mine so I'd expect to replace them if they failed. I expect to pay for most things tbh. If it's something the tenant has caused to happen through neglect or whatever I'd expect them to pay, but general maintenance and repairs I see as my responsibility. I wouldn't expect my tenant to call a tradesman like an electricial or plumber without speaking to me first (unless I'm away and then they'll know that and call them direct for any repairs).

LaLyra Thu 04-Jun-15 12:48:28

Imo the landlord should have replaced the tile inlay. Of course she's delighted with it - you've saved her money!

CallMeExhausted Thu 04-Jun-15 13:05:12

We bought the tiles at a "reclaim" shop and the whole job set us back less than a tenner. We were happy to have done it.

Perhaps I should clarify, we only do things around the house that don't require a professional, or call in a pro if it is already part of a service package and won't cost either us or the LL more. Nothing of a permanent nature is done without discussing it.

MrsSchadenfreude Thu 04-Jun-15 13:15:54

My friend rents a house out long term. It's in Yorkshire, and she doesn't get up there very often to see the property. Last time she went up there, she found that the tenants had:

Recarpeted the entire house

Replaced all the interior doors with cheap and nasty ones

Put in a new bathroom - completely new, with floor retiled, new shower cubicle and bath etc etc

Retiled the kitchen floor

Redecorated all of the downstairs.

Apart from the doors, she said she didn't really mind, but they were putting all this money into a house that wasn't theirs, and that she would probably sell within five years.

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